How To Research A Condo Before You Buy In Tampa Florida

I was recently talking with one of my potential customers from the Northeast who was interested in purchasing a condo as it would only be used seasonally and sporadically for vacations and short weekend excursions. She asked me, “What are the things I should be concerned about regarding the purchase of a condo?” That is a fantastic question!

Considering the amount of money that will be spent, it’s worth spending time and due diligence researching the developer of any new building being considered. I would recommend that you contact a qualified Realtor in the local market that has experience working condo transactions. The condo market is a specialized “niche” market so make sure your agent knows what you are looking for, what your needs are and what to look out for regarding building quality and future value potential. You also want to know if the building has complaints piling up as well. It could be a harbinger of things to come. Here are a few additional things I would look out for.


  1. Know The Builder First up is figuring out who the developer is, and who the individual people behind the building are. If the developer has not been openly advertised, then make sure your agent does their homework. Your government entity that reviews condo offering plans is also a good source of information as well. If the builder has a poor record you should be very concerned.
  2. Find Other Work By The Same Builder. Next, you will want to know what other projects have been successfully completed by this developer. If the developer has good ratings online and has a body of completed work to look at then you should feel good about moving forward with your purchase of their product. I’m also a big fan of going to a completed development and talking with one or two of the owners. Do they have mostly good things to say or do they regret their purchase? If so, why?
  3. Make Sure You Research Past Assessments, Liens and Condo Fees Associated With The Building.  When was the last assessment and what was it for? Are there any current liens against the building or the association that manages the units? What are the condo fees and how stable have the fees been over the last 2-5 years? These are all important questions that must be answered before you buy. The last thing you want is to buy in only to have a $5,000 assessment for pool resurfacing after you have just unpacked your boxes. Make sure your agent and the title company that closes your transaction have answers to these critical questions.
  4. Search various developments. If you are not familiar with the Tampa, Clearwater or the St Petersburg condo market it is advisable to look a few different styles. Urban verses sub-urban location should be considered. Urban based units and developments close to the beach almost always have higher monthly maintenance fees as building insurance costs are higher. Urban based units seemly have better amenity packages because of the demand of its residence. Sub-urban units are generally quieter and have a more “private” atmosphere. There are PROS and CONS of both. Take your time and work with your agent to select the best development and unit for you.

Take a look at this article from earlier this year. Tampa Bay is a destination for condo development for the present and future!

Email me at [email protected] with further comments, questions or tips. Follow me on Twitter